• 'L'ETOILE'

  • Sample Itinerary
    The Provence / Camargue Cruise (between Avignon and Montpellier or reverse)
    Cruise route map
    (Click to enlarge)
    Your cruise combines well-known sites of Provence with relaxing cruises on the rivers and canals in the South of France

    Cruise Route: River Rhone, Petit Rhone, Canal du Rhone a Sète
    Highlights: Visit of Pont du Gard, Avignon - Pope's Palace, winetasting, Les Baux de Provence, Arles- Provencal open-air market - Café van Gogh - Amphitheatre, walled city of Aigues Mortes.

    Sunday: Villeneuve les Avignon Welcome Aboard!
    You'll be met at 4:00 at the front door of the Avignon TGV Station. You can also drop off your rental car at the Avignon TGV Station. Then you'll be chauffeured to the barge, moored at Villeneuve-les-Avignon. After a festive welcome drink there is time to settle into your cabins, relax on deck, or go for a walk in the city of Villeneuve-les-Avignon. Dinner will be served, accompanied by carefully chosen wines from local vineyards.
    The Etoile Barge - Provencal cafe
    A provençal cafe in Arles

    Monday: Cruise to Avignon Cruise past Avignon's Famous Bridge!
    In the morning, take a short cruise to Avignon for one of the highpoints of the week: A tour of the large Palais de Papes, from which a rival papacy was established in the 14th century. This building, along with the historic center of Avignon, is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There is time to stroll and shop. Lunch will be served on board. A late afternoon cruise past the famous and unfinished Pont d'Avignon bridge, which almost - but not quite - spans the River Rhone!

    Tuesday: Avignon to Vallabrègues Pont du Gard - Incredible Roman Aqueduct
    This morning, visit Le Pont du Gard, an incredible aqueduct built to carry water to the important Roman city of Nimes. It was constructed entirely without mortar - using stones weighing many tons! After experiencing this monument, you can add to your knowledge at the on site museum. The Pont du Gard is pictured at right. Then it's back to the barge for lunch and in the afternoon cruise to the tranquil mooring of Vallabregues. This typical Provencal village gives you the possibility of walking, a bike ride or why not do as the French, play ‘boules’ on the town square, while sipping a ‘Pastis’.

    Wednesday: Vallabrègues to Arles Open-air market and Roman Ruins
    This morning we cruise early, we arrive in Arles to visit the famous open-air market in Arles. Lunch will be served on the barge and the afternoon we propose a walking tour of Arles. Heading to the heart of town we will see les Arènes, a Roman amphitheater built in the first century AD. There will be time for a drink in one of the outdoor cafés on the Place du Forum, where van Gogh painted his famous painting "Café van Gogh".
    The Etoile Barge - Pink flamingoes
    Pink flamingoes

    Thursday: Arles to Gallician Hilltop Village of Les Baux
    Take in gorgeous views! We will leave the Rhone River and turn into the ‘Petit Rhone. After passing the lock of Saint Gilles, we will continue our cruise on the Canal du Rhone a Sete. Our mooring for this night is near Gallician. For wine lovers, there is a local wine shop here, where you can taste and buy the regional ‘Costières de Nimes’ wines.
    After lunch we bring you the hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence, pictured at left, known for its gorgeous views over the Provencal landscape and its artisans colony. Optional, but strongly recommended, is a visit to the Cathedral of Images, a former stone quarry, now used as a three-dimensional screening room. Or take the time to shop for souvenirs in adorable shops which line the cobblestoned streets. Lunch will be ready for on the barge. Later this afternoon, we continue our cruise on the Rhone River, and pass a high Rhone lock to moor at Arles, the town where van Gogh fell in love with the lights and colors of this fascinating countryside.

    Friday: Gallician to Aigues-Mortes 13th-Century Walled Town
    Stroll, shop and enjoy a coffee.
    We start our day cruising through the stunningly beautiful Camargue National Park, home to various wildlife including black bulls and the beautiful white Camargue horses. Then moor at the gates of the amazing 13th century walled town of Aigues-Mortes, an embarkation port for the crusades. There are many historical sites to visit and there will be time to walk along the walls, shop for souvenirs or relax in one of the many outdoor cafés. A farewell dinner awaits you back on board!

    Saturday: Aigues-Mortes to Montepellier Au Revoir
    After breakfast, we will say ‘Au Revoir’ and we will transfer you to the Montpellier Train Station. We hope to see you again!

    Please Note: On alternate weeks this itinerary will be cruised in reverse direction. Depending on your date, this cruise will start near Avignon/Beaucaire and end near Montpellier, or start near Montpellier and end near Avignon/ Beaucaire. The sightseeing schedule is flexible and can be customized to reflect your interests on charter cruises. Occasionally an itinerary will be changed due to canal closures or inclement weather. The Captain will substitute an equally interesting route. Change in itinerary will not be accepted as a cause for cancelling your cruise.

    The ‘Provence Shopping Cruise’
    (an alternative way to spend a delicious week in the south of France!)
    Cruise route map
    (Click to enlarge)

    Sunday: You will be met at the location of your choice in Avignon, which is easily accessible by TGV train from Paris or as a rental car return point. You will be transferred to your charming barge home, moored in Villeneuve-les-Avignon.

    Monday: A full day of shopping and sightseeing. A whole day in fabulous Provence! In the morning we visit the ancient town of Avignon where we can tour the Palais du Pape. We can wander the narrow streets inside the fortified walls, visiting the many little shops where French treasures are awaiting you. Provencal fabrics for table cloths, place mats, lavender scent in pot pourri, cicada pottery…
    We return to the barge for lunch. In the afternoon we go to Gordes, one of the most beautiful villages in France. It has narrow cobbled streets (sensible shoes required) threading their way between tall houses, and is built against the rock. We can visit Le Moulin des Bouillons, located in a typical "bastide" on a roman site, the oldest intact olive-oil mill in France. Dinner is back at the barge, still moored in Villeneuve-les- Avignon.

    Tuesday: This morning we go to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a charming provencal town 25km from Avignon. The numerous canals and branches of the Sorgue have given the town the nickname of the Venice of Provence. The town centre with the church is surrounded by cafés and shops, the many streets radiating out from this centre have a wide variety of shops of all kinds with window displays. You will find nearly 300 permanent antique dealers and second hand shops! After lunch on the barge we begin our cruise and float down the river Rhone to Vallabrègues, a typical provencal village. Dinner on board with a view of the river.

    The Etoile Barge - Sunkissed streets
    Sunkissed streets
    Wednesday: This morning we go to Arles, where van Gogh fell in love with the lights and colors of this fascinating countryside. We start with a stroll through the huge and colorful open-air market. Heading to the heart this sophisticated town we will see Les Arenes, a Roman amphitheater built in the 1C AD and other roman monuments. Lunch will be served on the barge. After lunch we go to the enchanting hilltop village of Les Beaux, known for gorgeous views over the provençal landscape. St Rémy, the home to princess Caroline of Monaco and other celebrities has shops with regional pottery, including beautiful sunflower plates, no doubt influenced by van Gogh. Dinner on board rounds off a wonderful day.

    Thursday: A morning cruise on the River Rhone and the 'petit Rhone', and we pass several locks. After the second lock, we continue our cruise on the Canal du Rhone a Sète. Lunch will be served during the cruise and in the afternoon we will arrive in the town of St. Gilles. This afternoon we go to the Musée des Arômes et de Parfum in Graveson, housed in a lovely 19th-century farmhouse, where you can explore a whole world of delicate scents, the essential oils and products associated with aromatherapy. There is also a shop where you can buy a little something to make you smell and feel good. This evening we dine out in a restaurant where you can try some specialties from this region.

    Friday: In the morning we continue our cruise on the Canal du Rhône a Sète through the stunningly beautiful Camargue National Park. During this cruise we can observe the wild Camargue horses, troops of bulls and see lots of birds. We moor right at the gates of the amazing 13th century walled town of Aigues-Mortes, an embarkation port for the crusades. After lunch there will be time to walk along the ramparts if liked. You also have one more opportunity to shop for souvenirs in this gorgeous boutiquefilled fortified town! There will be time to relax in one of the many outdoor cafés. Tonight's festive farewell dinner in this quaint setting ends the cruise in grand style.

    Saturday: You'll say "Au Revoir" and depart after breakfast for transfer to Montpellier. There are TGV train departures to Paris and Nice. You may also be transferred to the airport, rental car office, or hotel.

    Please Note: On alternate weeks this itinerary will be cruised in reverse direction.
    Phone: +33 561 59 20 07, Fax: +33 561 59 23 54
    Phone (Toll-Free from USA + Canada): 1-800-688-0245
    Email: info@bargecompany.com
    Web: www.bargecompany.com

    The Barge Cruise Company Ltd, 2 Allée de Castelnouvel, 31490 Léguevin